My Hime (aka: Mai-HiME) Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 1-59816-651-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

My Hime (aka: Mai-HiME) Vol. #01

By Matthew Alexander     December 01, 2006
Release Date: November 01, 2006

My Hime (aka: Mai-HiME) Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Creator: Yatate Hajime / Writer: Kimura Noboru / Artist: Sato Ken-etsu
Translated by:Jeremiah Bourque
Adapted by:Gina Lee Ferenzi

What They Say
Yuuichi Tate is overjoyed: He gets to go to a brand new high school. Of course, then he just happens to find out the school he choose is under frequent attack by strange creatures called ''Orphans'', and the school set up a special task force of female members called ''HiME''s, using various elements as their powers, to battle these invaders. That's not all, though. Each member of the HiME task force has their own, unique ''Key'', another person whom, upon being discovered, can team up with the HiME to create a ''Child'', a combative unit specifically needed to effectively battle these Orphans. And with Yuuichi's luck, he just happens to find out he's not just the ''Key'' for one of the HiMEs, but for two... Two highly competitive, rival schoolgirls. And that's only the start of the trouble.

The Review
If you are a fan of the anime and don't mind a different take on the story (a more harem version to be precise), and wish the anime had more panty shots, sexual situations, and nudity, then this manga is for you!

The front cover is simple yet effective considering the etchi audience this title is intended for. Mai is depicted in her school uniform with one hand held near her face in a coy manner. The background is white and the title and spine is colored in a dark to light orange blend. This cover uses the same image as the original Japanese release, but the original shows all of Tokiha's body down to just above her knees and there is also a nice border. For some reason I can't figure out, it seems American publishers prefer to zoom in on the cover art. The back cover has a story synopsis and a color picture of Natsuki leaning against her motor bike with her riding outfit unzipped to reveal her bra.

The print quality is very nice except for a few pages with dark panels that end up being too dark in this reprint. The pages most obviously suffering from this are the first four after the Table of Contents. Since these pages were originally in color the black and white treatment by Tokyopop came out really dark. The only extra's are a synopsis of the next volume and an interesting interview with the anime producer and the Japanese voice actress that plays Tokiha's character (more about this later). Now aside from the fact the color pages were not reproduced, my biggest complaint is the printing of the 'Parental Advisory' warning on the front cover. Why? Why? Why do publishers print these warnings on the book itself instead of using a sticker that the customer can remove?! Now granted, Tokyopop is not the only publisher doing this now (Del Rey is also doing this with the Mature line) so maybe this is something the brick and mortar stores are demanding. But come on publishers, sack up and refuse to bend to every single whim by the brick and mortars. I still find books from other publishers using stickers (Darkhorse).

The artwork makes use of the same character design as the anime, but there is also a bit of Sato's influence in the characters themselves. Sato tends to give the female characters a slightly more rounded face than they have in the anime version. The panel layout for this book gives a good flow to the story and the artist effectively uses speed lines and angles to create a dynamic feeling, especially in scenes depicting rapid movement. However, the use of speed lines with dark and sometimes heavily detailed backgrounds can make for some cluttered panels.

I enjoyed the strong emotion the characters display with their facial expression, one panel of Mai crying comes to mind as a good example. On many occasions the artist uses panels zoomed in on a characters eyes which I really like and believe gives an increased level of intimacy between the reader and character. However, the artist does seem to have some problems with character consistency from beginning to end. For example, Natsuki really looks different at various parts of the book. So overall there are some aspects of the artwork I really like and others I found poorly done.

The text reads well and it was free of any slang terms that could date this book or scream Americanization, always a plus for me. I didn't find any grammatical errors and honorifics are present. SFX " you know the drill, no translation from Tokyopop, hence no A grade from me for this category.

Contents: (Oh yes, there may be spoilers)
Yuuichi Tate has been attending an all boys school his whole life, but things are about to change. He is finally going to be in co-ed heaven as he transfers to Fuka Academy where he is sure he'll finally get to have a fateful 'love at first sight' encounter with a beautiful girl. On his first day of class, he gets a whole lot more than he bargained for. Sure, he finds hot girls, but two of them, Tokiha and Natsuki, are trying to destroy each other with some type of strange powers and he ends up in the middle of it all. To top things off, when he touches the girls, each one suddenly summons a monster called a 'child'. Apparently, Tate can act as some kind of 'key' for these girls to activate their child. These girls are known as HiME's, and have psychic power to combat enemy monsters of Fuka academy known as 'orphans', which are becoming increasingly powerful. There appear to be quite a few girls with this type of power at Fuka academy, luckily they are all pretty cute.

Tokiha and Natsuki always seem to be arguing with each other, and Tate being a key for both of them creates some real fireworks. This only gets worse when Tate's room is destroyed and the director of Fuka academy orders Tokiha to take Tate on as a roommate. Tokiha refuses, of course, but the threat of Tate living with Natsuki eventually convinces Tokiha to give in. However, Natsuki won't take this lying down. She kidnaps Tate so she can keep his abilities as a 'key' to herself, which leads to another destroyed dorm room when Tokiha comes knocking. Another destroyed dorm room forces Natsuki to move in with Tate and Tokiha.

Will Tate be able to survive living with Natsuki (who treats him like a tool) and Tokiha (who treats him like a pervert that should be shunned)? What about the orphans, what do they want? And who are the other HiME's making up the A-rank HiME team?

First, let me discuss my thoughts on the Content grade for this book. I personally thought the content was okay, but there are two things to keep in mind; 1) If you like your manga adaptations of anime, or anime adaptations of manga, to be complete copies of the original then you're going to hate this My Hime manga. 2) On the other hand, if you enjoy it when the second version takes the characters and changes things up, then you should like this My Hime manga (especially if you are a fanservice hound! The last panel should be proof enough). However, this My Hime book is rather confusing if you haven't seen the anime and already know what a HiME, child, and orphan are and how things work. For example, even the voice actor interviewed as an extra for this book thinks this manga version is confusing.

I do find it interesting that I feel more sympathetic for Natsuki in this version of My Hime than I do for Tokiha, and vice versa in the anime version. This might be because the author reveals Natsuki's past in this first volume of the manga, whereas it takes awhile to come out in the anime, and by then the viewer has built up an affinity for Tokiha. Another big difference is that the manga reveals nearly all the HiME characters in this first volume, whereas the anime creates a real mystery out of it and drags it on for half a season or so.

In the end, the anime is much better.


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